Budget Lens Review

Loads of lenses. You want them all.

Loads of lenses. You want them all.

IF YOU CARE what shape Bokeh is, and worry about vignetting, then this is probably not for you. If, on the other hand, you want to know how sharp a given lens is, and not much else, then read on………………

Canon Budget Lenses

50mm f1.8 MKII

Sharp as a bastard.

Sharp as a bastard.

THE CANON 50mm f1.8 MKII is, for want of a better word, sharp. Very sharp. So sharp in fact, it will make your Canon 18-55mm kit lens look like it has cataracts. This is the first lens you should buy when you are starting out.

THERE are lots of bad things we could say about the MKII – it is noisy, it hunts like a deranged terrier in low light, and it looks and feels as though it is made out of recycled carrier bags.  But boy, is it sharp!

IF KNOWING that its optical construction consists of six elements in five groups and that it has five aperture blades means anything to you, then that’s what it has. The Bokeh, if you care, is a bit naff at times, but for around £80 brand new who’s complaining.

BEAR IN mind that on a 1.6 crop sensor a 50mm lens becomes 80mm – widely considered to be the perfect focal length for portrait photography. So, for a hard to beat price you will find yourself potentially able to create stunning, professional quality portraits with this lens.

SO, FROM the last page of a proper website, our verdict is that the 50mm f1.8 MKII is a must have for all you peasants out there. And all of us peasants in here.

FOR A proper review visit Photozone, which we think may be the best site out there for lens reviews. We also think their staff actually get paid.

Canon EF 20-35mm f3.5-4.5 USM ‘Wide Angle’ Zoom

IF LANDSCAPE photography is your bag, then this is a decent little lens, though it has it’s bad points on a 1.6 crop. However, and again, if you are using it for shooting landscapes the bad points won’t be much of an issue and we won’t bother to go into them.

It's not big, and it is clever

It’s not big, and it is clever

FIRST introduced back in the dark old days of 1993, it is clearly a full frame lens. The wide angle is less wide on a crop sensor (we’ll let you do the maths) though it still has a lot going for it. Available for as little as £100 on ebay, you could do worse.

IT HAS 12 elements in 11 groups with a five bladed aperture, yadda yadda. Bokeh is not great, but they have managed to reduce flare. So, good and bad points, but cheap and effective if the 17-40mm L is out of your price range.

NOW, I know we said we weren’t going to talk about this stuff, but there is some barrel distortion (when straight lines go a bit curvy at the outer edge) at 20mm, and a little at 24, but by 35 it settles down.

SO, AFTER skipping to the last page of a real website, our verdict is: not a bad lens for the money. It’s pretty sharp and pretty cheap; worth a punt if your financial portfolio is anything like ours.

AND remember, you can, as always, read a full test report at Photozone if you want to go deep.

Canon EF-S 18-55 f/3.5 – 5.6 IS II

It's the same one. you fool

It’s the same one. you fool

THE CANON 18-55 IS II is perhaps one of the most overlooked of all the budget lenses because, quite simply, it is a kit lens and people assume it must therefore be naff. But au contraire, bitches! According to those lab coated boffins over at Photozone, this lens, to use a colloquialism, is ‘the dogs bollox’.

ONCE AGAIN we have skipped the technical stuff so you don’t have to – freeing up more time for you to look at porn (or whatever it is you do in front of your laptop screen all night when you aren’t visiting that tog blog}

AND SO without further ado, and freshly lifted from our favourite proper website, ladies and gentlemen, the Canon18-55 IS f/3.5:

OPTICAL quality is, according to very rigorous lab testing, outstanding. On a par, in fact, with some of Canons L series lenses. Mechanical quality is a bit rubbish, of course, but as we have already established we don’t care about that at this point, being that the Price/Performance ratio is almost embarrassingly excellent, we won’t dwell.

THE APERTURE is not overly fast, unfortunately, but you can’t have everything. So, with that in mind its probably best to shut up and get over to eBay before this review sends costs through the roof.

Editors Note: – Though we do encourage you not to get  bogged down in the technicalities of it all too much (you will get all that naturally if you stick with it) we do advise that you read the reviews over at Photozone just because it is a great way to learn some good shit, and lots of impressive sounding words. Just don’t let it eat into your porn time. Or that tog blog time.